Tag Archives: clots

Stroke: Blood clots are most likely culprit – which medications put you at increased risk?

Blood clots typically form in areas where the arteries have narrowed and fatty deposits line the artery walls. When a blood clot interrupts the blood flow to the brain, it’s called an ischaemic stroke. Certain medications can increase the likelihood of developing a blood clot. The American Heart Association said: “Medicines containing the female hormone oestrogen are linked to an increased risk of blood clots.”
This includes oral contraceptives given to women to prevent pregnancy, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) given to menopausal women.

The NHS said: “It’s thought the risk of developing a blood clot is two to four times higher than normal for women taking HRT tablets.”

However, as the initial risk of menopausal women developing blood clots is “usually very low… the overall risk from taking HRT tablets is still small”.

It’s estimated that for every 1,000 women taking HRT tablets, fewer than two will develop blood clots.

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Regarding “the pill” (i.e. oral contraceptives), the NHS stated that there’s a “very low risk of blood clots”.

The American Cancer Society have listed anti-cancer drugs that are also linked to blood clots, such as:

  • Platinum, such as cisplatin
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors, such as bevacizumab
  • VEGF tyrosine kinase receptor inhibitors, such as sorafenib or sunitinib
  • L-asparaginase
  • Thalidomide
  • Lenalidomide
  • Tamoxifen

Blood clots have also been linked to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which has resulted in the jab not being offered to people under the age of 30.

Although these medicines and the vaccine can slightly increase a person’s risk of blood clots, there are many other factors that have more impact.

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The Stroke Associated warned that certain health medications can increase a person’s risk of a deadly stroke, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Diabetes

“Lifestyle factors, such as diet, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, smoking, and how active you are, also affect your risk,” it said.

If you’d like to minimise your risk of a stroke, making key lifestyle changes can help you do just that.

A healthy diet, low in saturated fats, will help to lower cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol levels are an important aspect of leading a healthy lifestyle, because too much cholesterol can clog arteries, causing them to narrow.

Narrowed arteries can restrict blood flow to vital organs, such as the brain.

If you’re over the age of 40, “you should have your cholesterol checked regularly”, said the Stroke Association.

Should you be required to take medication to treat underlying health conditions, it’s vital you keep taking those.

It’s also key not to smoke, which can irritate the blood vessels, and to drink less than the UK’s recommended guidelines.

The NHS stated that people should drink less than 14 units per week, if at all.

It’s also important not to binge drink, which is when you consume a large quantity of alcohol in one sitting.

Certain drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, increase your risk of stroke by damaging blood vessels and raising blood pressure. This is also true of drugs that enhance sports performance.

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Covid vaccine update: Johnson & Johnson jab investigated for blood clots

Four cases of rare clots with low platelets were reported after inoculation with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) confirmed. Also known as Janssen, the Covid vaccine initially proved 67 percent effective against the notorious virus in clinical trials. The one-shot jab has been rolled out across Europe and America in the past few months.
Due to its original sheen of success, the UK ordered 30 million doses of the Janssen jab.

The Medicines and Healthcare Regulations Agency (MHRA) are yet to approve the vaccine for use in the UK.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson have expanded their Phase 2a clinical trial to include adolescents aged 12 to 17 years of age.

Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson commented on the development on April 2.

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Young people from the UK and Spain are currently enrolled in the trial, with plans to enrol adolescents from the US, Netherlands, Canada, Brazil and Argentina.

In which ways the EU regulator’s investigation into the Janssen vaccine will impact this trial is yet to be detailed.

The dangers of blood clots

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) detailed the dangers of blood clots (i.e venous thromboembolism).

Typically, a blood clot develops int he lower leg, thigh, pelvis or arm.

People more at risk of a blood clot include those who have a family history of the life-threatening incident.

Anyone presenting signs of a blood clot must contact emergency service as soon as possible. 

“Blood clots can be life threatening if not treated quickly,” warned the NHS. 

Those more at risk of a blood clot include:

  • Overweight individuals
  • Smokers
  • Using combined hormonal contraception, such as the combined pill, contraceptive patch or vaginal ring
  • Previously had a blood clot 
  • Are pregnant or have just had a baby
  • Have an inflammatory condition such as Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis

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AstraZeneca blood clots: MHRA lists groups that shouldn't receive AZ Covid vaccine

The AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has been under review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for its links to rare blood clots. By the end of March 79 people in the UK had suffered rare blood clots following vaccination.
Of the 79 cases, involving 51 women and 28 men, 19 people died, three of whom were under 30 years old.

The review has prompted the government’s vaccine advisory group, the JCVI to recommend people aged 18 to 29 be offered an alternative vaccine where available – the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine instead.

But the MHRA has said this isn’t proof it was the jabs that caused the clots.

Speaking during Wednesday’s press conference, Dr June Raine, of the MHRA, said side-effects of the vaccine were “extremely rare”, but that work was ongoing to identify if the vaccine was definitely causing the clots.

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She added: “The balance of benefits and known risks is still favourable for the majority of people.”

Chair Committee of Human Medicines, Sir Munir Pirmohamed also advised three other groups of people to approach the AstraZeneca vaccine with caution.

He said: “Based on the current available data the commission who have met have advised the following; First, a pregnant woman should continue to discuss with her healthcare professional whether the benefits of having the vaccine outweigh the risks for them.

“Number two, people with a history of blood disorders that increase the risk of clotting should only have the COVID-19 vaccine (AstraZeneca) where the benefits outweigh any potential risks.

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“Number three, anyone who experiences cerebral venous thrombosis or other major blood clots occurring together with low levels of platelets after the first vaccine (AstraZeneca) should not have the second dose.”

The MHRA has said those who have had their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should still get their second dose.

At the press briefing, EMA executive director Emeritus Cooke said the combination of blood clots and low blood platelets was very rare but was seen in “all ages, and in men and women”.

She added the EMA safety committee have confirmed the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19 overall outweigh the risks of side effects.

The UK government has stated, like all medicines, this vaccine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.

In clinical studies with the AstraZeneca vaccine, most side effects were mild to moderate in nature and resolved within a few days, with some still present a week after vaccination.

Very common side effects are listed as:

  • tenderness, pain, warmth, itching or bruising where the injection is given
  • generally feeling unwell
  • feeling tired (fatigue)
  • chills or feeling feverish
  • headache
  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • joint pain or muscle ache

If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse.

Reports can also be made on the Yellow Card reporting site, via the mobile app from the Google Play Store or Apple App store, or via freephone (0800 731 6789, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday).

Symptoms of blood clots include:

  • Throbbing pain
  • Cramping pain
  • Swelling, redness and warmth in a leg or arm
  • Sudden breathlessness
  • Sharp chest pain (sometimes worse when you inhale)
  • A cough or coughing up blood.

Call 111 if you’re concerned about a blood clot. If the situation escalates call 999.

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AstraZeneca vaccine: 25 more reports of blood clots but MHRA says 'benefits outweigh risk'

A total of 18.2 million doses of the Covid AstraZeneca vaccine were given up to March 24; in the same time period, there have been 30 blood clots cases in total. Here is the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) response. “Our rigorous review into the UK reports of rare and specific types of blood clots is ongoing,” said the MHRA. There have been 22 report of “cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST)” and eight reports of “other thrombosis events with low platelets”.
To date, there has been no blood clots associated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“On the basis of this ongoing review, the benefits of the vaccines against COVID-19 continue to outweigh any risks,” said the MHRA.

It added: “You should continue to get your vaccine when invited to do so.”

The MHRA approved the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine based on a trial containing more than 23,000 participants.

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The NHS described the symptoms of a blood clot, which may include:

  • Throbbing or cramping pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness or warmth in a leg or arm

Other warning signs include:

  • Breathlessness
  • Sharp chest pain, which may be worse when breathing in
  • A cough
  • Coughing up blood

“Blood clots can be life threatening if not treated quickly,” warned the national health body, so it’s important to call 111.

In addition, if you’re overweight, losing weight can help minimise your risk of a blood clot.

There are also some things you can not do to lower the chances of a blood clot, such as:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink lots of alcohol
  • Don’t sit for long periods of time

“Staying healthy and active can help prevent them,” said the national health body.

If you do have any signs of a blood clot, do seek medical support as they need to be treated quickly.

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Does Pfizer vaccine cause blood clots? Surprising results in study – so why is AZ banned?

This figure stands up even in pre-pandemic times, and the clots can happen for a variety of reasons including obesity, smoking and a lack of exercise.

Even the women’s contraceptive pill, which is known to directly contribute to clots, is linked to blood clots in about one in 1,000 women per year.

This is considered a “very small risk”, according to the National Blood Clot Alliance in the US.

Even if all the blood clots reported in the UK so far were definitely linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the risk would be about one in every 323,000 people – equating to 323 times less than risks with the pill.

Does AstraZeneca vaccine actually PREVENT blood clots? Experts point at bombshell stats

The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine has been rolled out to millions of people across the world in recent months, with the vaccine widely praised for its efficacy. However, in recent weeks several European countries have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, pending investigations into whether the vaccine causes blood clots.
Cases of blood clots in vaccine recipients have been a rare occurrence among the millions of people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Some 30 cases of blood clots had been reported to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) by March 10, among almost five million people vaccinated.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said that in the UK leading up until February 28, it had received 30 reports of blood clots in people who had the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

While investigations are ongoing, several countries have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, including France, Germany, Italy and Denmark.

However, the MHRA and World Health Organization have said the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks of side effects and AstraZeneca vaccine rollout continues in the UK.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement: “For the moment, based on the evidence reviewed to date by the EMA, the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing hospitalisation and death due to Covid-19 outweigh the risks of side effects.”

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“The nature of the pandemic has led to increased attention in individual cases and we are going beyond the standard practices for safety monitoring of licensed medicines in reporting vaccine events, to ensure public safety.”

Several experts have highlighted on Twitter how blood clots are a natural occurrence in the general population and the cases reported in vaccine recipients are not necessarily linked to the vaccine.

Referring to the EMA’s report of 30 “thromboembolic events”, David Spiegelhalter said in an article for the Guardian: “We can try a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation.

“Deep vein thromboses (DVTs) happen to around one person per 1,000 each year, and probably more in the older population being vaccinated.

“Working on the basis of these figures, out of five million people getting vaccinated, we would expect significantly more than 5,000 DVTs a year, or at least 100 every week. So it is not at all surprising that there have been 30 reports.”

Sir Michael Marmot of the UCL Institute Health Equity tweeted in response to David Spiegelhalter’s article on the topic: “Interesting. there are fewer DVTs among recipients of the vaccine than you would expect by chance.”

Former GP Charles West also replied on Twitter: “It would be more logical to suggest that the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine prevents blood clots.

“Has there been deliberate rumour-mongering here?”

Interestingly in the UK, the MHRA said that in the UK leading up until February 28, it had received 30 reports of blood clots in people who had the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab and 38 reports associated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The MHRA said more than 11 million doses of AstraZeneca had been given in the UK so far.

A statement said: “Such reports are not proven side effects of the vaccine. Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon.”

Blood clots have been reported as a symptom in people who have Covid-19 and experts have suggested there is a greater risk of blood clots developing in people infected with Covid than those who are vaccinated against the virus.

Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said “the risk of developing blood clots from Covid far, far exceeds any potential risk from the vaccination.”

Covid vaccine: Dr Jarvis says 'blood clots happen all the time' – AstraZeneca side effects

While the matter is investigated more thoroughly, the MHRA hold the stance that current evidence “does not confirm that the vaccine is the cause” of the blood clot. So what are the official side effects of the jab? Appearing on BBC One today, Dr Sarah Jarvis said: “People have blood clots all the time.” Discussing the AstraZeneca vaccine, the GP mentioned there have been around 30 blood clots worldwide, while there’s been about 10 million of the doses given in the UK.
The above side effects are said to affect more than one in 10 people. In addition, other common side effects – affecting up to one in 10 – can include:

  • Swelling, redness or a lump at the injection site
  • Fever
  • Being sick (vomiting) or diarrhoea
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as high temperature, sore throat, runny nose, cough and chills

Less common side effects of the jab, affecting up to one in 100 people, are:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Excessive sweating, itchy skin or rash

Some people may have a severe allergic reaction to the jab, known as anaphylaxis.

Other side effects, not mentioned above, can be reported to the MHRA Yellow Card.

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Regarding the blood clot investigation, MHRA said: “Vaccine safety is of paramount importance.

“We continually monitor the safety of vaccines to ensure that the benefits outweigh any potential risks.

“It has not been confirmed that the report of a blood clot, in Denmark, was caused by the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

“Reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population.”

As the vaccination roll-out programme continues in the UK, Dr Jarvis is hoping that the workload will be spread out more evenly with GPs.

Until now, about 70 percent of the work has been dedicated to helping out the vaccination programme, meaning other work, involving other conditions, have been getting less attention.

“We have got concerns,” said Dr Jarvis, but she hopes that as younger people are targeted for vaccines, they’re more likely to travel to get their jabs.

“More younger people can travel to local pharmacies, rather than GPs,” she said.